State rolls out Thailand Riviera plans
The Department of Rural Roads is launching a project to upgrade three routes across the country to stimulate the tourism industry and local economy.
Pathom Chaloeywaret, the department's director-general, said on Wednesday the project included a 1,500 kilometre route along the Gulf of Thailand from Samut Prakan to Narathiwat, a 750km route along the Mekong River from Loei to Ubon Ratchathani and a 175km route in the Khao Yai mountains in Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri and Sa Kaeo.
Mr Pathom said the project has been initiated to improve road networks to promote tourism as part of the 20-year strategic plan.
Under the project, landscapes and communities along the three routes will be developed as tourist attractions. According to Mr Pathom, the 1,500km route which has been named "Thailand's Riviera" has been divided into four phases.
The first phase covers the upgrading of a 659km route from Samut Songkhram to Chumphon, and this phase is 80% complete. The route's upgrading will be finished by 2023, said Mr Pathom.
He went on to say that the second phase covers the upgrading of a 555km route from Chumphon to Songkhla. The upgrading began this year and is projected to be complete by 2026, he said.
The third phase runs from Samut Prakan to Samut Songkhram and is 144km in distance. Its upgrade is planned to start in 2023 and it will connect to the Samut Sakhon-Chumphon scenic route, he said.
The fourth phase, a 190km route from Songkhla to Narathiwat will begin its survey in 2023.
The department is also surveying trails along Tenasserim Hills, including Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, to plan more projects, he said.